AI and Marketing: How to Further Your Lead Generation

Hushly AI & G2 Crowd

Regardless of industry, if you want your business to be successful, you need marketing and sales teams that perform. 

And teams that perform well bring one core thing to the table: leads. Without leads, you can kiss the idea of a successful business goodbye. The problem is generating leads in 2020 differs from lead generation a decade ago. 

Technological advancements have multiplied since the turn of the millennium, and now more than ever, it’s important for companies to take advantage of the tech available to help with day-to-day business processes like lead generation.

In the recent past (and still to this day), companies rely on methods like cold calling, direct mail campaigns, and in-person networking events to generate leads. When the internet became a must-have, the whole lead gen process changed. 

Now, marketers and salespeople had extended access through technological advancements to help them with lead generation. Cold emailing, digital content creation, and social media platforms became must-haves in addition to more traditional lead gen methods. But now none of the aforementioned “new technologies” are actually considered new anymore. For example, a social media presence is no longer an option; if your company isn’t online, you’re letting potential customers look past you and move toward your competition. 

The lead potential that social platforms and the internet bring are undeniable. That said, everyone’s using them now. To overtake your competitors, you need to implement new high-tech add-ons to your lead gen strategy. That’s where artificial intelligence comes in. 

Using AI to further lead generation 

Artificial intelligence isn’t “new” technology, but its prevalence in the business world is relatively new – and rapidly growing. We’re going to explore how AI functions as a tool for marketing and sales teams, and ultimately helps with the necessary task of lead generation for a business. 

AI technology has grown and developed so much since the 1950s, though the concept of artificial intelligence existed long before then. The main business use case for AI tech is obvious: automation. With general marketers’ roles being so multifaceted: writing, researching, conducting outreach, event planning, and more, automation is more than welcome in today’s business environment. Even with more specific offsets of general marketing, demand gen marketers are stretched thin, too. 

How is AI currently being used for lead generation purposes? 

Even if your demand gen team isn’t currently utilizing AI for lead gen purposes, perhaps a landing page sales funnel is more of your speed, there are other people out there who are. Let’s explore some real-life use cases of AI in lead gen in its current iteration. 

1. Identifying potential leads 

Finding leads on your own is a laborious process, so many companies put lead generation off unless and until their pipeline is close to “dry”. Identifying where a customer falls in the stages of awareness and targeting different awareness groups can prove tiresome. AI-powered solutions, however, can help identify new leads in a less labor-intensive way than that of a human. 

Data science and machine learning platforms can be used to mine customer data by combing through the internet looking for specific people, companies, or products that might have existing customer lists that can be used by your in-house sales/marketing teams as a jumping-off point of contact. There even are specific AI-based platforms that completely automate the lead development and generation process, ultimately resulting in new business relationships. 

2. Generating lead insights and data-based instincts 

Getting insight into your leads is one task that sales and marketers must do in order to properly, seamlessly engage. Instead of using a human instinct to draw conclusions or assumptions about leads, utilizing data to make informed insights is the way to go. In fact, your teams can develop lead profiles based on data points and factors, such as a lead’s online presence (i.e. social media, purchase history, most visited websites, and more). 

For instance, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator allows users to search for people, companies, and types of experience to discover whether they are potential leads or not. Further, it allows you to segment based on territory and includes features like tagging and saving accounts of interest. Another tool of interest is Einstein, Salesforce’s CRM platform. Einstein provides automated lead scoring, which can help businesses learn about accounts or users that are most likely to convert. 

Lead scoring software is essential for helping your teams be successful. It saves the hassle of wasting time on leads who won’t convert and identifies leads who need more outreach, what kind of interactions your leads need, and how you can push them to convert. That way, you can nurture the leads who will likely bring you what you need: conversions. 

3. Providing personalized experiences to possible leads 

It isn’t surprising to hear that most people don’t trust salespeople. In the same vein, few people trust marketers, either. The campaigns seem tired, overdone, and impersonal, and the overarching message to users is “give us your money” or “buy our product,” which makes the whole experience not something anyone can look fondly upon. That doesn’t mean people don’t want to be sold to, but it does mean that people need more of an incentive than a campaign targeted to just anyone. 

People crave personalized experiences, and with how competitive the market is these days, you need to implement personalization to get your leads to convert. Gone are the days of mass phone calls with a messaging sheet for your salespeople to read off of. You also can’t rely on canned emails that follow a generic template that all people see right through. Research shows that 80 percent of people are likely to buy something if a brand offers a personalized experience. The same holds true for companies and lead generation. If you personalize your campaigns and messaging to your users, they will more likely turn into customers. 

But you might wonder how to achieve this and take your personalization to the next level. Content experience software utilizes AI to help companies personalize digital content. The purpose of content experience software is engaging an audience with thoughtful, curated content that is specific to types of users rather than a pool of leads as a whole. An example of this might be ads and written content that speak to a user’s interests or pain points, thus providing a value-add of sharable content they can take with them, rather than relying on “tried-and-true” calls and emails to do the job for you. 

4. Offering follow-up to prevent leads from going silent 

A huge missed opportunity for businesses is following up with their leads. In your personal life, you might avoid “double texting” someone as not to seem annoying, but in the professional world, follow-up is key for maintaining a full and abundant pipeline. Companies tend to become complacent if or when they have a multitude of leads, falsely assuming that their pipeline will never run dry. But that’s simply not the case. 

However, you can’t necessarily rely on your sales or marketing teams to have the bandwidth to follow-up with leads if they’re focusing their efforts on more obvious leads who seem closer to conversion. Instead, using AI sales assistants can fill the follow-up gap your teams are neglecting to close. 

These sales assistants use AI engagement tactics to follow-up with leads via email, live chat, and text messaging – a variety of ways to re-engage with different audiences. Plus, the messaging coming from these AI sales assistants is personalized, not canned, as mentioned above. The tools are crafted with natural language processing software, which can help AI to learn how to best communicate with specific leads, down to matching/reflecting the tone and type of messaging most comfortable per person. The more natural the conversation, the more likely potential customers will be open to re-engaging with your company, and the more comfortable they’ll be communicating with a member of your sales or marketing team after the first re-engagement via an AI-powered assistant. 

Don’t wait to integrate – start using AI today 

Artificial intelligence is no longer a “future” need or a nice-to-have; to move ahead of your competition, you should be using all available technology to boost business visibility. While AI-powered solutions aren’t the only way to connect with leads, they do help with streamlining lead communication and acquisition processes. 


If you’re worried about the cost or potential implications of artificial intelligence on your business, throw those fears to the side. AI opens channels of communication and brings peace of mind to your sales and marketing teams. If you’re not already using AI for your lead generation purposes, you’re falling behind your competition. As time progresses, more businesses will adopt AI as a standard inclusion in their lead generation strategy. Don’t get left behind.

6 Effective Ways to Use AI in B2B Marketing

AI B2B marketing

Artificial intelligence isn’t the “next big thing” in B2B. It’s already here!

Top companies in every industry are already using AI in B2B marketing to learn about their audiences, segment visitors, and create personalized content.

Sure, there are still a few kinks to work out, but the results speak for themselves.

As of 2017, nearly a quarter of B2Bs had already incorporated AI into their marketing strategy, and that figure has only grown considering 83% also said AI was a top priority.

The question isn’t whether you’ll use AI in B2B for sales or lead generation, but how.

AI B2B marketing

How to Use AI in B2B Marketing for Lead Generation and Sales

AI can feel intimidating. You’re taking control out of the hands of humans and putting it in computers and code.

What if the software is wrong? What if your predictions fail or if you lose money?

Start small with easy solutions to automate, such as email and content recommendations. AI in B2B marketing makes humans work faster and more efficiently when done right.

Automated Email Marketing

Email marketing might be the easiest place to incorporate AI into your B2B marketing strategy.

First, email service providers make it easy to set up automated campaigns. For B2B nurturing, this is awesome. You can design personalized welcome emails, onboarding, and even newsletters to deliver super-relevant content to your subscribers.

41% of B2B buyers say email is their favorite channel to communicate with brands. Meanwhile, 75% of marketers say email is their favorite personalization channel.

Email also makes it easy to segment your audience because data is so organized and plentiful. You can also combine data from your CRM software and other sources to build detailed profiles on your leads for hyper-personalized email campaigns.

These personalization features make email an awesome tool for account-based marketing strategies as well.

Account-Based Marketing Segmentation

92% of companies see account-based marketing as valuable. Some even call it a must-have!

But ABM is tricky. If your intelligence is off, it can render your entire content strategy moot.

ABM

Source: Smart Insights

Sadly, statistics show that most businesses aren’t working with accurate data to guide their marketing decisions. 62% of brands rely on data that is up to 40% incorrect to build their strategies. It’s no surprise that 40% of initiatives fail due to bad intel.

AI in B2B marketing removes bad data from the equation because much of the data collection, interpretation, and content recommendations happen in real-time.

Not only can AI offer personalized ABM recommendations, but it can also help you segment your list by company. Instead of collecting data on your leads through clunky forms, AI scans publicly available information on sources like LinkedIn to piece together a broad range of firmographics.

Personalized Content Recommendations

AI in B2B marketing is perhaps most impactful for offering personalized content recommendations to every visitor – whether known or unknown.

When you activate an AI engine on your website, it monitors the behavior of every visitor, taking a record of everything they read, how long they read each post, what they navigate to next, and other factors.

From there, the AI system can build complex profiles and make recommendations for future visitors based on their behavior and the behavior of past visitors.

AI is especially effective for nurturing because the buying process is so fluid. An average of seven team members are involved in each sales decision, and company needs change. AI can take data and offer a personalized experience in real-time.

Humans, on the other hand, must work retroactively sorting through old datasets and following up with personalized content for lead nurturing.

Effective Exit-Intent Strategies

Exit-intent popups are effective but sadly, most brands get them wrong.

How many times have you visited an interesting blog today only to have a lead form thrown at you as soon as you tried to navigate away from the tab?

No one likes to fill out forms – especially on mobile devices.

Well, Think with Google estimates that 70% of all B2B searches happen on mobile devices, and buyers spend up to three hours each day researching from their mobile devices.

Instead of confronting your visitors with a form, AI lets you offer them personalized content recommendations. Not only does this leave a better taste in their mouth, but it also helps leads self-nurture instead of leaving your page.

Chatbots for AI in Lead Generation and Nurturing

Chatbots are another easy place to play with AI in your B2B marketing strategy.

The AI used in chatbots has improved over the past few years tremendously, and it gets better the longer you use it on your own site as well.

No one is sure how much of the buying process B2Bs complete online without speaking to anyone at a company. However, we do know that the figure ranges from 57% to 90%.

That means you control less than half – or much less.

Chatbots make it easy for buyers to ask quick questions about your product and get answers instantly without committing to anything.

Netflix-Style Content Bingeing for AI in B2B Marketing

Think your buyers don’t want to binge content on your B2B site? Think again.

Buyers and decision-makers are young and they want to research content at their own pace. Research shows that 42% of millennials working at B2B companies are in managerial-level positions while another 21% are in C-suite roles.

Younger generations expect personalized content everywhere online, so B2Bs need to keep up. They know these algorithms exist and they expect professional sites to use them.

Content bingeing powered by AI can help them find the information they want in less time. Plus, personalized recommendations are designed to guide buyers along the sales cycle, depending on the stage they’re at.

Incorporate AI in B2B Marketing and Watch Leads Skyrocket

By incorporating Hushly AI into your website, you can skyrocket lead conversions by 51%. Hushly’s system uses data you’re already collecting to provide real-time content recommendations and guide visitors down the nurturing process – whether known or unknown.

AI B2B marketing

Artificial Intelligence Pros and Cons in B2B You Need to Know

artificial intelligence

AI is a funny thing. Every business knows it’s growing in importance, but they struggle to implement AI tools properly.

By understanding the basic artificial intelligence pros and cons, you can prepare yourself and avoid some common mistakes

Mistakes are costly. Major companies – who you’d think have it all figured out – lost $900 billion on failed digital transformation strategies in 2018.

Sadly, these massive costs and risks have caused many B2Bs to stall in their AI and digital strategies. Maybe you’re one of them.

But ignoring the growing importance of AI is costly too. B2B buyers expect a seamless, integrated, and personalized experience from brands.

Artificial Intelligence Pros and Cons in B2B Every Marketer Needs to Know

AI doesn’t have to consume every process in your company immediately. Take things slow and integrate a few AI tools here and there.

Take these artificial intelligence pros and cons into consideration as you look for areas to revamp with modern technologies.

Pro #1 of AI in Marketing: It Frees Up Time and Resources

The biggest benefit, of course, is that AI helps remove tedious processes and difficult tasks.

Instead of sorting through massive data sets and ambiguous numbers, AI can read patterns and results right away.

You’ll often see AI in B2B in the email marketing department. AI makes it easy to segment your list based on different demographics and behaviors so you can automatically send personalized campaigns and content.

AI tools also tend to be extremely cost-effective. Marketers and sales can spend more time connecting with high-quality leads and less time scoring them or analyzing them.

When done right, AI is effective for generating leads and profits. Epson, for example, saw a 240% increase in responses and a 75% increase in qualified leads after implementing AI technology.

Pro #2 of AI in Marketing: It Provides a Personalized Experience

Now, it’s probably not the best idea to rely on AI for writing your actual content – like blogs and social media copy – but AI does take plenty of guesswork out of content strategy and research.

AI is extremely effective for learning about your audience and creating personalized content. Not only that, but AI can help you present content to your leads and visitors in a personalized way.

Take Amazon, Netflix, or Spotify for example. Why do people love them so much? The personalized suggestions, right?

What if you could add an algorithm to your website that provided your visitors with personalized content recommendations? Well, you can with AI.

Hushly’s adaptive content hubs and self-nurturing landing pages take note of what content a visitor reads and continues showing them similar content in an endless stream.

Here’s an example of what personalized AI-driven exit-intent looks like (instead of throwing a form as visitors try to leave your site):

exit intent

Hushly

Pro #3 of AI in Marketing: Your Competitors are Already Using It

58% of B2Bs either use or plan to use AI this year, and of those that use it, 91% of marketers say it plays a key role in the success of various campaigns.

The fact is, your competitors are already using AI in marketing to create personalized experiences for their visitors, leads, and current customers. And if they aren’t already, they will be soon.

85% of B2B buyers say they expect brands to provide a personalized experience, and if a company falls short, they’re willing to dismiss it on the first interaction.

Personalization isn’t optional anymore. B2Bs expect it. Consumers expect it. If brands don’t provide the uniquely personalized experiences that buyers and customers expect, the future doesn’t look too bright for them.

Con #1 of AI in Marketing: It Can’t Work Right Without Accurate Data

A recent study estimated that 80% of brands will abandon their personalization strategies by 2025 due to poor ROI.

If personalization is critical but not delivering results, then what’s going wrong? Bad data.

Unfortunately, 60% of companies are working with data that’s nearly half incorrect, and it causes 40% of strategies to fail.

Bad lead data can really screw up your entire marketing and sales strategy. When you collect email addresses from everyone who visits your site and never clean up your data, that throws off your segments, firmographics, and personalization strategy.

You can’t create relevant content if your intel is wrong.

Getting rid of forms and employing human lead verification can help keep your data clean and accurate so your AI can do its job.

Con #2 of AI in Marketing: It Has Its Limitations

AI can’t do everything. Some people aren’t comfortable talking to a chatbot – they prefer speaking to a real person. When it comes to content, AI isn’t the best copywriter or content planner, either.

It certainly has its limitations, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it like the plague. Instead, focus on the benefits AI can provide.

One area AI truly excels is content curation. Using adaptive content hubs, AI can learn about everyone who visits your website and deliver relevant content in an endless stream. Like so:

adaptive content

Hushly

Con #3 of AI in Marketing: It Feels Risky to Implement

Frankly, a lot of businesses are just afraid of AI – regardless of artificial intelligence pros and cons. They’ve heard the horror stories, and they know what can go wrong.

It’s true that if you try to automate too much too quickly, that leaves major room for disaster.

Start by looking at your marketing shortcomings. Are there certain processes AI could improve? Could lead verification and adaptive content hubs help create a better experience for your leads?

Since systems like Hushly work with real-time data rather than cookies, there’s less opportunity for things to go sour.

The Bottom Line on AI in B2B

Hushly can help you harness the power of AI so you can provide your visitors and leads with a truly unique experience – every time. We help you create the experience your leads expect through AI with personalized content recommendations, self-nurturing landing pages, formless lead magnets, relevant exit-intent popups, and so much more.

Want to talk about artificial intelligence pros and cons? Check out how Hushly works and contact us for a personal demo to learn more.